Page images
PDF

cost of the apparatus. In opposition to these I should state, that the saving between the cost of hay and potatoes ("where land is of considerable value) is such as abundantly to compensate the expenses attending steaming; and the superior condition and health of the horse is a further argument in its favour. As a proof sufficient to establish these facts, I should instance, that it requires from five to six hours for a horse to masticate a stone of hay, whilst he will eat a stone of potatoes in twenty minutes, or less. The saving of four hours for rest is alone sufficient to produce the most essential difference in the health and condition of the animal: after great fatigue also, a horse would be tempted to take warm food, when he would not eat hay. As a proof of the excellence of this .food, I have at this time in my works, horses which were six years ago purchased of a farmer, who was selling off his stock, as worn out, and of little value, and which are yet able to do their work with the best horses I have. I think there is little doubt 'of the life of this valuable animal being considerably prolonged by this mode of feeding. I have met with but one instance where there was any difficulty in getting them to eat the potatoes*.

The cost of hay, at the cheapest rate, is double that of potatoes, but more frequently three or four times as much. The loss by steaming is an eightieth part, that of roasting, a sixth, without admitting of the

* The potatoe top, or haulm, when properly dried, makes very good litter for cattle. I have found it of very great service.

benefits

benefits which result from the mixture with straw *. In the present season (1807), when the crop has failed, I have begun to mix an equal quantity of cut straw and potatoes: to the horses that are befow ground, in the coal-works, and obliged to remain there, 1 am under the necessity of allowing a proportion of hay,, as well as potatoes: formerly it was 14 Ib.;" I have now reduced it to 9 Ib. of hay, and 5 Ib. of straw, and shall very shortly make the quantities equal. Racks are, according to this mode of feeding, as unnecessary as they are productive of waste, for to save trouble, they are always filled; and what is not eaten is so tainted with the breath of the animal as to be wasted.

Work horses of size consume little if any thing short of two stone of hay in 24 hours; (working oxen are stated by Mr. A. Young, from an experiment made by the late Duke of Bedford,) to eat two stone and a half in the same period. Ta this consumption must be added the unavoidable waste so long as the practice of feeding from racks continues. I

» Doubts have indeed been entertained of the correctness of this .statement of the loss sustained by steaming. From recent experiments upon eighty pounds at a time, I have found the best and most farinaceous potatoe rather to gain than lose. I am not enabled from experience to judge of the comparative excellence of roasted and steamed potatoes. Assuming bulk to be as requisite as nutrition, the loss in weight must decide the question in" favouring of steaming. It would be impracticable to roast two tons per day, which is my daily consumption: the surface of a square yard containing only four stone eight pounds weight of potatoes.

. have

have found the saying very great by cutting hay and straw, which I do both when they are given mixed and separate. I was highly pleased to find after a very little practice, that the horses preferred the cut food to what was given uncut in the racks. When both were prsented to them, they took what was cut.

Having destroyed all old lays, I have no other hay than clover: this I propose mixing and stacking with alternate layers of clover and straw, in nearly equal proportions.

An ounce of animal food is supposed, by DrPringle, to possess twelve times as much nourishment as the same quantity of vegetable food, and yet two ounces of meat would not support nature, whilst twenty-four ounces of bread might do it: Bulk appears as requisite as nourishment; to ascertain in what proportions they are to each other is object of great importance in the feeding of animals. I question whether the cutting of hay and straw will not also be found highly beneficial, by facilitating the horse's getting his fill. A very striking instance of the superiority of the potatoe feed occurred in the last year; twenty horses were sent to an adjoining farm, where there was no convenience for steaming; these horses had hay in lieu of potatoes, the same quantity of oats, and the same hours of work ^ notwithstanding all the care that could be taken' of them, they lost their condition, and were not to be compared to the rest of my horses.

In Scotland I understand salt is given with the potatoes. I have no doubt it may be found beneficial;

but but the difficulty of preventing frauds, as well as the increase of expense, has deterred me from trying it.

The allowance of oats to colliery horses is 12lb. per diem; farm horses, 8 Ib.; horses employed in drawing very heavy weights, lOlb.

For three years I have made use of carrots, giving 5 Ib. to each horse, and taking off 4 Ib. of oats, which keeps them in great health and spirits.; as much,, or more so, than with the full allowance of oats.

ESTIMATE OF FEEDING A FARM HORSE PER DAT.

lj stone of potatoes at 3d. per stone, £ s. d.

which exceeds an average price, . O O 4j

7lb. of cut straw 1 d., labour Id. . 0 O 2

Steaming, . , , . , 0 0 Oj

7 Ib. of straw, . . . O 0 1

8 Ib. of oats, estimating the cost at 3s, 6d.

per Winchester weight, from 40 to

44 Ib. . , . O 0 8

[ocr errors][graphic]

Horses carrying great burdens are allow-
ed but l0lb. of oats. '. •

One labourer is sufficient to steam and
wash 180 stone per day.—^Three Win-
chesters of 61 Ib. weight, of coals, cost £ s.
laid down at the house, ^ 0 0'

Labourer's wages, « .• 0 1 8

[ocr errors]

Cost of steaming, at £d. per stone, 0 3 9

This leaves a.surplus of 0 1

In seven months' steaming, this will amount to 13l. 12s. 7d. which will be sufficient to keep the apparatus in order.

An average crop of potatoes may be estimated at 1400 stone, which, at 3d. amounts, to 171. 10s. On good ground, 2000 stone may reasonably be expected, at 251. per acre*.

The cost of managing an acre of potatoes, in a complete manner, is 15l.; but this mode of culture is nearly equal to a fallow, and puts the ground in high condition for succeeding crops.

'•'. *'

* The red Bullock Potatoe answers equally well for steaming; and generally speaking, the produce is one-half more than that of the white kidney. I had this year on double rou-s, eight inches apart, and five feet between the stitches, 2660 stone per acre. This method of planting potatoes answers extremely well, uniting hand and horse-hneing.

« PreviousContinue »